Posts

Incoming

September 1st was a slow developing day…tons of shear down in southeastern AZ, but once I got there, storms looked meh and lightning was hard to come by…meanwhile northern Arizona was a structure-fest of course!

But eventually, patience paid off and storms rapidly intensified in the later afternoon…I watched a couple of downbursts happen and move my way, and finally the lightning got awesome. From here on out, the rest of the day was pure gold…so much lightning and fun storms.

This was east of Sunizona along Highway 181 where it’s just pretty and grassy fields are everywhere.

Perryton

Ohhhh if it had only been daytime, but dang this storm was awesome and definitely tops for structure I’ve seen at night so far this spring. We were on a line of storms right away when they began to intensify northwest of Perryton, Texas, and while we were watching them explode, the southern cell rapidly developed a rain free base. I could see striations forming as well, so we flew south about 10 minutes and I parked at this spot mainly to get those windmills in the frame.

This was from my 5D4 with the @Tamron 15-30mm, but the other camera was doing an 8K time-lapse of this beast and I cannot wait to render that. I don’t have a ton of footage this year yet, but what I do have has been pretty great for nighttime stuff. Looking forward to hopefully more action next week!

Colossal

A monster supercell begins to cross highway 385 south of Lamar, Colorado. We had raced north as the rain began to hit us, and we stopped after a few miles to take in the view of this incredible storm and that stunning blue-green hailcore.

This panoramic has been sitting on my computer in seven pieces because up until yesterday, I’ve had zero luck stitching it together. I tried everything…Photoshop, Lightroom, third party pano apps…nothing worked. Not sure why, but major fails on every attempt.

But I updated to the latest Photoshop CC over the weekend and decided to try one more time…and BAM, it worked! Couldn’t believe my eyes.

I’ve been dying to get this thing together, because it’s one of my favorites last year and maybe all-time. Such a beastly supercell south of Lamar, Colorado on May 24th, 2015. Beautiful structure, gorgeous green hail core and toss in the road/cars to give it some scale.

We had been a few miles south watching it approach us, and then we had to race north as the rain/hail began to hit us. We stopped after a few miles to take in this incredible view before continuing on to keep in front of it.

Spring is just around the corner…

An Arizona Meso

Sometimes in Arizona you get lucky when you're out chasing and happen to stumble on a storm that not only looks pretty great from far away, but it also suddenly begins to form structure on it  right before your eyes and the next thing you know, you have a bonafide mesocyclone. These are kind of a rare occurrence out here, but lately they seem to be happening more often. EIther they've always happened and no one sees them in the wide open lands of Arizona, thus an influx of storm chasers has suddenly revealed these hidden gems...or El Nino and climate change are the reasons. Or a combination of both. Either way...August 2nd south of Holbrook was amazing!
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 16-35mm f/2.8 l, 16mm, iso 100, f/8, 1/60th)

Sometimes in Arizona you get lucky when you’re out chasing and happen to stumble on a storm that not only looks pretty great from far away, but it also suddenly begins to form structure on it right before your eyes and the next thing you know, you have a bonafide mesocyclone. These are kind of a rare occurrence out here, but lately they seem to be happening more often. EIther they’ve always happened and no one sees them in the wide open lands of Arizona, thus an influx of storm chasers has suddenly revealed these hidden gems…or El Nino and climate change are the reasons. Or a combination of both. Either way…August 2nd south of Holbrook was amazing!

The Alanreed Supercell

Alanreed Supercell
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, rokinon 14mm f/2.8, iso 100, f/8, 1/40th // buy print)

Storm chasing can be frustrating and fruitless. Or it can be magnificent and incredibly rewarding. On April 16th of this year, I was able to chase solid structure for almost six hours. So many time-lapses and photos. It was just one of those days that keeps you coming back for more.

This storm earlier spawned a brief tornado near Groom, Texas. It moved to the east/northeast across the rolling farmlands…I caught up to it once again here just north of Alanreed. The hail core and structure was gorgeous. After the clouds nearly passed over me, I got back south and blasted east to chase it again.

More to come!

A winter storm

Winter Storm
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 17-40 f/4 l, 17mm, iso 200, f/8, 1/1000th // buy print)

While watching this storm roll across eastern Arizona, we dubbed it a “snoboob” because it had all the appearances of a dust storm but instead it was pure white. Even the time-lapse of this makes it look like a haboob. Whatever it was…shelf cloud, gust front…it was gorgeous to watch, especially as it eventually overtook us and enveloped our area in fog and hail.

Was so amazing to be there to witness this…on a road trip, stopping to take photos of some other things, only to watch this storm sorta come out of nowhere. That’s the beauty of God and nature…when you just “get out there”, you never know what you’re going to see.

Sunrise at Sunset

Sunrise from Sunset
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 16-35mm f/2.8 l, f/8, 1/500th, iso 100, graduated filter // buy print)

On the first day of our road trip up north a few weeks ago, we stopped at Sunset Point to wander out in the golden fields that are all over up there on the plateau. It was dark and serene, other than the passing cars on Interstate 17. We found some spots in the dark, like with this cactus…almost out of place with all the tall grass around it.

Sunrise was perfect…the light just peeking over the horizon lit up all the grass and the tippy points of the cactus…it was stunning.

A great omen for our trip…more to come, including a time-lapse film, a documentary by Jay Worsley and more images from yours truly!

On Approach

Approaching
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 35mm f/1.4 l, iso 100, f/5, 1/200th, 8-image stitch // buy print)

After seeing that amazing supercell near Booker, Texas…it’s tough to imagine anything looking more ominous. But this storm was close. This is a big, 8-image panoramic, so things look further away than they actually were. The wall cloud was rotating violently, and we stood there in awe of what we were seeing. You can see in the darker area of the wall cloud how low the base is to the ground. Incredible.

This storm was marching on Denver International Airport and while a few tornadoes were reported, there was no real evidence of any on this day. But this was the second best wall cloud I’ve ever seen.

Can’t wait to get back out on the plains next spring!

Inferno

On Fire
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 16-35mm f/2.8 l, 16mm, iso 400, f/4, 1/100th // buy print)

An amazing sunsets east of Sonoita, Arizona. The sky was on fire from a monsoon thunderstorm and the setting sun of course, but an actual wildfire was off camera left of this image, which created a sky full of smoke and only enhanced the colors this night. I was amazed when I turned from the fire to look at this mountain…that the field of grass was actually reflecting the reds and oranges. It was stunning.  A rainbow can faintly be seen over the mountain peak.

You can see more of the wildfire pics here and here.

I typically use luminosity masking and level adjustments these days, and this image is no different. No vibrance or saturation adjustments to up the color. All the color was already there waiting for me to bring it out. It’s the reason I stopped to take the photo in the first place…I felt like everything surrounding me had an orange and red glow.

My only regret with this image is that I shot it at f/4. It was raining, there was a fire burning across the street so I didn’t take the time for a tripod. It’s actually quite sharp all the way through, but I still wish I had shot it at f/16.

 

A Colorado sunset

A Colorado Sunset
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 16-35mm f/2.8, 16mm, iso 100, f/8, 1/50th // buy print)

Sometimes you do all you can to get in front of epic supercells for those amazing structure and lightning photos…only to find out that a retreating cluster of storms at sunset can be equally as beautiful.

This was from last week on Interstate 70 on Colorado’s eastern border. We were chasing these storms in hopes of getting to the other side for some lightning imagery, when we realized we just had to stop for a few minutes. My dash Sony Handycam, that does my live stream feed, was bringing out some contrast that we couldn’t see with the naked eye too well.

And when I walked out and took a shot with my 5D3…wow, it really popped. It was almost like the camera could pick out the separation between two storms right there in the middle of the road. More than I could see with my own eyes.

Glad we stopped.